Hostname: page-component-5d59c44645-7l5rh Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-02-22T00:44:18.263Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Summing up problems in bilingual specific language impairment: Why multiple influences may not be additive

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 March 2010

Gina Conti-Ramsden*
University of Manchester


The Keynote Article is a very welcomed, timely, and incisive review article that examines theoretical and clinical implications of research on bilingual development and specific language impairment (SLI). Paradis provides a considered examination of the available evidence and takes into account a number of potential influencing factors. In particular, I want to commend her discussion of potential compensatory mechanisms that may play a role in bilingual development in SLI. This is often a neglected area in discussions concerning SLI. I also want to highlight that I agree wholeheartedly with her conclusion that the evidence to date “leans toward a positive attitude toward dual language learning for children with SLI who are in a supportive context for bilingualism.” This message is by no means universally accepted, nor is it put into action in therapeutic contexts across the United Kingdom and Europe. There is still much debate as to what type of advice should be given to parents and what the target language or languages of therapy should be (Harulow, 2008). This review article has therefore the potential not only to make a significant contribution to theory but also to practice.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



Bishop, D. V. M. (2006). What causes specific language impairment in children. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15, 217221.Google Scholar
Conti-Ramsden, G. (2008). Heterogeneity of specific language impairment in adolescent outcomes. In Norbury, C. F., Tomblin, J. B., & Bishop, D. V. M. (Eds.), Understanding developmental language disorders: From theory to practice (pp. 117130). Hove: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
Falcaro, M., Pickles, A., Newbury, D. F., Addis, L., Banfield, E., Fisher, S. E., et al. (2008). Genetic and phenotypic effects of phonological short-term memory and grammatical morphology in specific language impairment. Genes, Brain and Behavior, 7, 393402.Google Scholar
Gathercole, S. E., & Baddeley, A. D. (1990). Phonological memory deficits in language disordered children: Is there a causal connection? Journal of Memory and Language, 29, 336360.Google Scholar
Gutiérrez-Clellen, V., Simon-Cereijido, G., & Wagner, C. (2008). Bilingual children with language impairment: A comparison with monolingual and second language learners. Applied Psycholinguistics, 29, 320.Google Scholar
Harulow, S. (2008). Exploring myths and legends in speech and language therapy. Bulletin of Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, 680, 1213.Google Scholar
Orgassa, A., & Weerman, F. (2008). Dutch gender in specific language impairment and second language acquisition. Second Language Research, 24, 333364.Google Scholar
Paradis, J. (2007). Bilingual children with specific language impairment: Theoretical and applied issues. Applied Psycholinguistics, 28, 551564.Google Scholar
Ullman, M. T., & Pierpont, E. I. (2005). Specific language impairment is not specific to language: The procedural deficit hypothesis. Cortex, 41, 399433.Google Scholar